Sunday, September 25, 2011

This past week

I don't have any funny stories to share with you all today.

Or sad stories, either.

The thing is... I don't have a lot to say.  I said it all this morning when I preached on John 14:23 where Jesus talks about making his home in us.  Most of this week has been spent in thinking and exploring the topic of the furious love of God, longing for union with his beloved.  

So tonight I'm going to wrap myself in a big quilt, visualizing God's all-consuming love enveloping me.  And then I'll watch an Agatha Christie Miss Marple detective DVD.  (with popcorn and hot chocolate!)  Incongruity aside, this sounds like just what I need! 

May each of you be blessed with exactly what you need, right now, at this stage in your journey, whether it be healing prayer, a cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) or a good film.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

10 Months

Yes, it's been that long since Vincent died.

Ten months as of yesterday.

Since I have no words to say, here are some of my husband's thoughts.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

He paid on our first date & love notes from heaven

Before going grocery shopping on Monday, Theo ran into the bedroom and emerged with his "money bear," a bank I made him from a plastic honey container.  Grabbing two dollars, he gleefully informed me that he would be buying a hot dog at Costco.  (A not-healthy treat we occasionally allow him to consume.)  I told him he didn't need to bring money, that I would buy it for him, and then he said, "But mommy, I'm buying it for you!"

And he did.  I ate it with relish and lots of onions.  (Sorry all our vegan and vegetarian friends!) I bought him one too.  We had a great date.

Yesterday morning I woke up to this.

In case you can't tell, it's a love note.  Theo finds scraps of paper (usually from to-do lists in my purse) and writes notes on them, sticking them up with tape on random walls/furniture of the house, waiting for me to discover their existence.  Yes, my four year old son thinks I'm pretty cool.

You'd think I'd be happy receiving all this affection from my 4 year old (and indeed I am), but it makes me wish I could feel some of Vincent's love.  At 18 months, he was very warmhearted, loved giving hugs and kisses, and after he died I have desperately missed him and his sloppy wet open mouthed smooches, the feel of his head on my chest, and getting my hair pulled as he gurgles "baa baa!"   Since we came home on hospice and he gradually slipped away from us I have felt very far from him indeed.  I know many grieving parents have seen "signs" from their kids, messages of love sent from above, but I'm not one to read into things.  It's just not my style.  So when I see a pristine gray feather on my floor by the bed in the morning, I don't think, "Wow, that must be from Vincent"- instead I think, "Gross, how did that get there?"  (This really did happen a few weeks ago!)  I saw a few more in the kitchen the other morning, too.  I have no idea how these bird feathers are getting into the house during the night.

For all I know, Vincent could be sending me love notes from heaven.  I'll try to keep my eyes peeled and heart open.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

On this day

Last year on this day I brought Vincent to the beach and we snuggled, splashed in the water, and played with hats.  I wrote this (as Vincent) on his Facebook page:
"We had a great, great day today!  Mom and Dad kept my tube plugs securely taped, and we went to the beach where I splashed my feet in the sand and waves.  Pictures to come shortly!"  
Vincent playing with Popo (Grandma) on 9-11-2010

I find it hard to believe that just one year ago today, I was taking pictures, cradling Vincent in his ergo baby carrier, and putting on sunscreen.  One year ago I had two car seats in the car, two sweet little boy bodies to hug, and two smiles at me in the rearview mirror.  I had diapers to change, feeding tubes to plug and fill, and medication to dispense.

Last year on this day I had both my children with me.

And exactly ten years ago I crowded with dozens of other frightened students in the lobby of our college library, listening to the blasting newscast (usually on mute) and watching in shock as the second tower was hit.

It's amazing how your whole life can change in a single day, whether it be from a cancer diagnosis, news of a relapse, a car crash, a natural disaster, a terrorist attack.  For those of you today who are grieving, I pray that you find peace and rest for your soul.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bedtime Rituals

Since our house was broken into and robbed after Vincent died, I've been very paranoid about our security.

Every night before I go to bed I double-check all the doors in the house, close the windows, peek behind shower curtains, (although for some reason I'm OK without checking closets) and set the alarm.  If my husband has set the alarm, I do this all over again.  Thanks anyway, honey!

Upon retreating to bed, I lock our bedroom door as well as Theo's.  (Our bedrooms are connected by another door that I leave open in case he needs anything at night.)  I make sure the bottom half of the window louvers are firmly closed and secured.  So far I've drawn the line at putting chairs underneath our door knobs, although I did this once to Theo's door that opens up to our main living room.  It just didn't feel safe that night.

During the day when I leave the house I hide my laptop, ipad and camera.  These locations rotate between a few selected favorite hideaways, punctuated by the odd one I can never remember.  Thankfully, I can usually recall where they've been placed. (Except the camera that I lost for around 3+ weeks during which time we went on a tourist-fest with friends from out of town.  Oops!)

To some people, this may sound a little paranoid, perhaps a little extreme, but by trying to control some of my environment I manage to feel a bit more safe.  Some people need a nightlight or a blanky I need to triple-check the doors.  On occasions in the past when I didn't do this (and when we lived with more family) we wound up with unlocked doors or worse.  One night a little over a year ago I awoke at 4:30am to find our front door (and screen) propped wide open.  Apparently they were never closed (or locked) after bringing in large amounts of groceries the night before. (hello mosquitos!) So I never take it for granted.  Every night, a-checking I come.

How do you guys feel about home security?  Any particular things you do to feel safe(r?) Any of you had your home broken into in the past?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Odds and Ends

It's September already.  In a little over two months we're going to be observing Vincent's one year angel anniversary which is a rather overwhelming thought, one I'll delay for a few more weeks.

Ten months of intense grief changes you.  I can't name one iota of my life that has not been violently impacted by Vincent's death.  A few curiosities stand out:

Sometime in the last few months I've stopped wandering the house, looking for him.

Last week there were four days in a row I couldn't cry.  Not a single drop.  Incidentally, those days were severely crappy.   Apparently I take being able to cry for granted.

At night now, I sleep with all lights off.   We've finally realized there's no need for bright light to adjust pumps, change pajamas or administer medication.  I've exchanged my nursing gear for normal bedclothes.

Saturday I talked about him to a friend, musing aloud how Vincent used to love train tables, clutching onto the miniature wooden trees for hours.  He was even buried with his favorite bush.  

I didn't cry.  Did I mention that?  I wish I could.  I wish I did.  

I'd gladly cry all day long, sleep with lights on, endlessly wander the house, wear nursing clothes, and avoid the train table if it helped me feel closer to him, but nothing does.  Losing a child is like losing the best part of yourself.  I wish I could have it all back.